Dimensions of Sustainability author Johann Dréo

Sustainability is the improvement of our own quality of life without diminishing that of future generations. It’s a pretty simple goal, but what does it really mean to transportation?

The benefits of transit and non-motorized transportation go far beyond the personal benefits realized by not driving. Sustainability actually has three dimensions: social, economic, and environmental. Sustainability is considered to be achieved when all three dimensions interact with each other in the best way possible for society as a whole. In the course of working toward that goal, it makes sense to examine the potential benefits to individuals from transit (which includes many of the benefits of carpooling) and non-motorized transportation.

Both drivers and non-drivers can benefit!

Social Benefits:

Make new friends – and keep the oldFriends
Become and stay involved in your community
Reduce traffic congestion, saving time and stress for everyone
Reduce susceptibility to an accident: Public transit is safer than driving
Level the playing field: Have the same ability to live daily life that drivers do

Economic Benefits:

Obtain and maintain a job
Save on the costs of an automobile
Reduce monetary costs associated with automobile accidents
Make budgeting more stable: Escape the volatility of fuel prices
Using transit, experience easier and less costly accessibility for persons with disabilities

Environmental Benefits:

Reduce overall fuel consumption
Help work toward the goal of reducing auto emissions

Some environmental goals are yet to be realized. Our rural transit systems are often too inefficient to produce environmental benefits, and they may even increase fuel consumption and emissions in some cases. But as more people become aware of the benefits to themselves and try riding the bus, transit will help reduce our overall environmental impact.

Not just a chore – fun and healthy, too!

Social Benefits:

Find a new way to spend timeEconomic
Don’t rely on someone else’s schedule
Feel better, look better, and be healthy
Meet new friends with the same interests
Reduce stress and depression, becoming more open to social activities
Reduce traffic congestion, saving time and stress for everyone else

Economic Benefits:

Reduce health care costs
Save on the costs of an automobile
Make budgeting more stable: Escape the volatility of fuel pricesLeaf

Environmental Benefits:

Experience fresh air
Don’t just transfer your fuel and emissions impacts – eliminate them entirely!

By experiencing the benefits of sustainability, you can begin to move society toward achieving it on a larger scale:

Make transit economically defensible in itself by contributing to route efficiency simply by joining the ridership.

Promote participation of non-drivers and other disadvantaged population groups in the economy.

If you have the ability to drive, promote social equity by choosing to transport yourself the same way non-drivers do.

Make environmental improvement economically viable by choosing to walk – for free! – instead of drive.

Equalize environmental impacts on different social groups by reducing the burden of our landfills, parking lots, and other unwanted land uses on low-income areas. It’s easy to do your part and reap the benefits.

The possibilities are endless!